With mobile phones’ now able to store and use digital versions of your credit cards, ID cards, plane tickets and coupons, there’s fewer and fewer reasons to lug your wallet or purse around. And one of the few remaining physical card holdouts, NSW’s Opal Card, is also going digital.
On Tuesday, the NSW Government announced that it is trialling a digital version of its public transport card — but only for a select few.
“We have seen the increased popularity of using a digital wallet to conduct shopping and access membership cards, so we’re delighted to be taking Opal digitally for the first time while providing the same Opal card benefits to adult customers,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.
In the past, commuters have been required to either use a physical Opal card or pay with a credit or debit card.
Those people who were jonesing to ditch their physical cards used this as a workaround by paying using mobile payment options like Apple or Samsung Pay.
But this only worked for those who were using full adult rides and not concession, and some fringe uses of the Opal card.
The digital card is currently being trialled on Apple iPhone, Apple Watch and Samsung devices and is expected to come to non-Samsung Android devices “shortly”. It’s not supported on Android wearables at this time.
Transport for NSW is trialling the digital Opal cards with up to 10,000 people for a year before rolling it out to everyone, assuming all goes well.
To register, you have to provide your name, phone number, email address, and travel data for “analysis” during the trial — i.e. Gladys will know exactly where you’ve been.
If that’s not a problem for you, registration for the trial is now open, and enrolled participants will be contacted to let them know how to proceed into the trial.
So if you’re keen to go digital, it would certainly be wise to try beat the rush to ditch the plastic. In any case, it’s certainly easier than implanting it into your hand.